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Maeve O'Leary

The first official British International Schools Safeguarding Coalition (BISSC) meeting took place on 17th January 2024. The meeting convened to discuss various aspects related to the BISSC launch and subsequent planned activities.

We are pleased to report that the official launch of BISSC at the AoBSO conference in November 2023 was a resounding success, thanks to the diligent efforts of the team at AoBSO. Since the launch all members reported the unequivocal support across the British international school community to the intention of BISSC.

As part of the meeting, members reviewed BISSC’s intention statement, and all parties agreed to add this to their individual websites and share with their school members.

BISSC’s Chair, Emily Konstantas, updated members on her recent discussions with Jane Larsson, Chair of the International Task Force for Child Protection (ITFCP) in relation to working together with a singular focus of safeguarding.

During the meeting members spoke about current international safeguarding loopholes including the concern about reporting unsuitable teachers in the international school sector. It was explained that international schools cannot currently refer teachers to the Teacher Regulation Agency misconduct unit as the school is not based in England. It was noted that this is the same in Scotland as well. BISSC Chair, Emily, explained that The Safeguarding Alliance have seen an increase in schools who are frustrated because they cannot refer, and feel that there could potentially be unsuitable teachers who simply move from one school to the next. Members discussed the creation of an International Teacher Regulation Agency (ITRA) to identify teachers who have been prohibited from teaching. Emily confirmed that discussions have taken place with the government but are still in its infancy. All parties agreed to work together on ITRA to close this serious loophole in reporting in the international school sector.

BISSC members will next meet in Term 3.